Sunday, June 06, 2010

Cebu: Sizzling beef and pork pochero at Abuhan Dos

After hearing so much about this sizzling pochero from Cebu City, I finally got to try it out at Abuhan Dos. Pochero is actually the Cebuano term for bulalo. So what they actually serve is sizzling bulalo. You can order the pochero the regular way with soup. Beef Pochero comes in large (Php373) and medium (Php304) bowls. While a bowl of Pork Pochero is Php186.

The Sizzling Beef Pochero comes in large (Php384) and medium (Php315) servings. While the Sizzling Pork Pochero costs Php192. We got ourselves a sizzling plate each of beef and pork pochero which comes with a generous serving of mushroom sauce in a bowl. The pork pochero is better for me. It's actually recommended by the locals.

Also among the specialties of Abuhan Dos are Balbacua (Php165), a traditional Cebuano oxtail broth, Kare-kare (Php196), Callos (Php226), Lengua Estofada (Php226), Bicol Express (Php111) and Caldereta (Php226).

Abuhan Dos
176 F. Ramos Street, Cebu City

Bulacan: What can be called traditional Bulacan food?

Last week, I got invited to deliver a lecture at a Bulacan heritage food forum and cooking competition in Paombong, Bulacan. I was quite interested as to what can be considered traditional dishes of Bulacan. I was surprised to find out that there are some similarities between Pampanga and Bulacan when is comes to traditional food, particularly bringhi and the various frog dishes.

There was Batute, Adobong Palaka and Aligasin at Damuko sa Tuba. Bringhe ng Tagumpay is like the Pampanga bringhe although this one is wrapped in banana leaf cones that make servings good for one. Also on the table was Lumpia ng Kalayaan, Hamon Bulakenya and Asado de Carajay, On the seafood list was Nilasing na Hipon, Alimango sa Misua, and Alimango ng Hagonoy which are from the coastal towns of Bulacan.

What other traditional Bulacan dishes do you know of?

Pahiyas, Agawan and Mayohan, Quezon festivals for San Isidro Labrador

Quezon is known for the various festivals held in celebration of the feast of San Isidro Labrador. These are the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Agawan Festival in Sariaya and Mayohan Festival in Tayabas. We got to visit these three Quezon towns plus San Pablo, Laguna.

We visited the town of Sariaya first and marveled at their grand Art Deco mansions. Three of them were declared Heritage Houses by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, namely the Natalio Enriquez House, Rodriguez House and Gala-Rodriguez House.

The Sariaya Church and the different houses were all colorfully decorated with local produce and goodies for the agawan which would happen later in the day.

From Sariaya, we visited the Tayabas Basilica, a National Cultural Treasure. At about 3 p.m., a procession of the image of San Isidro Labrador makes its way around town. As the image passes by every house, suman or glutinous rice cakes, are hurled out the balconies and windows in the hundreds, causing a mad rush among the procession participants. The more you get, the more blessings for the family and the more suman to eat!

The Pahiyas Festival in Lucban is the most popular and no doubt, the most colorful of the three festivals. The procession of the image of San Isidro Labrador usually makes its way around town first thing in the morning at about 7:30 a.m.

Every year, the procession route changes. And only houses along the procession route are decorated. Usually, it takes about seven years before the procession passes by a house again. So that gives a household enough time to save resources and prepare for the colorful and ostentatious decorations that are an inherent part of the Pahiyas.

The afternoon is reserved for a lively parade that makes its way around town. But unfortunately, this parade has been invaded by not so subtle commercial advertising. Anyway, I'll talk about the delicious Southern Tagalog food we ate in another post.

Surigao del Norte: Mabua Beach and more from Surigao City

Surigao del Norte is best known for Siargao Island and Cloud 9, one of the top surfing spots in the country. Surigao del Sur is also known for surfing, particularly Lanuza. While there are direct flights to Siargao via Cebu, major carriers also fly to Surigao City which has flights from both Manila and Cebu.

I was in Surigao City for a night. So I made use of the little time I had to visit its most popular beach, Mabua Beach, and the Surigao del Norte Provincial Capitol which is one of the few remaining heritage structures in Surigao City.

Mabua Beach is actually a pebble beach about 30 minutes away from the city proper. You can hire a tricycle to get there. There are some resorts in the area plus huts for day visitors.

Another beach worth visiting is Basul Island, a fine white sand islet close to the city.

Surigao is one of the gateways to Caraga's surfing areas. There are regular ferry services from Surigao to Siargao which take between two to four hours depending on the type of boat you'll use. Public transport is also available going to Lanuza. The trip can take between three to five hours depending on whether you'll hire a private van or take the bus. Private vans to Lanuza can cost you from Php3000 one-way.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Hong Kong: Victoria Harbour & Hong Kong skyline from Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon

Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong Island skyline is best viewed from Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. So if you want a photo representative of modern Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui is the place to get it.

In the evening, the lights of the buildings make the panoramic views even more stunning. I remember way back in 2005, the buildings were part of a light and sounds show viewed from Avenue of the Stars. I wonder if it's still done now.

Another grand view of Victoria Harbour is of course from the top of Victoria Peak. So when you visit Hong Kong, make sure to have photos taken from those two places for memorable pictures!
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